Olivia’s Turn: When a Novel Becomes a Journey

“If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell the truth about other people.” – Virginia Woolf

SOMEWHERE ALONG the experience of creating Olivia’s Turn everything changed.

The women I’ve created since I turned to fiction have battled misogyny in the entertainment industry. It’s been part of the daily grind so many women have faced in other industries, too. There is much to change in workplaces across this country but Hollywood has shown the beginnings of action.

Olivia’s problem is tangled up in stereotypes of a different nature. After starting her career as a teen actress she’s now 25 years old and wants a role that speaks for who she is today. She’s found a film she wants but the producer, Vivika James, won’t let her read for it. A teen star is not the right fit, says James, the first African American woman to break into the Hollywood men’s club.

The character’s telegraphed desire is not the truth behind her desperation.

There are complications between innocence and #metoo. Damnable choices made for sport. To test the tolerance of reality.

Have you ever felt desperate?

Psychological gymnastics are required when you are imperiled.

When the future you’ve mapped out is a mirage. When the feeling you get from your gut tells you it’s time to make a move. But when the answer comes it’s to a different query.

Some decisions are fateful. A split second in life where the right place becomes the wrong scenario. …until it’s played through the twist.

Some decisions turn into questions.

Our desires define our actions, or they cripple our thoughts.

Sanity’s path depends on the transparency with which we look at our own life.

The diary of the abducted and murdered girl in Olivia’s Turn got into my bloodstream. It was crowded with Olivia already ensconced. The humiliation of private thoughts being read by someone you’ve admired from afar. For a narcissist the feeling is acute.

Hard lessons come through chaos, and the savagery of life.

Olivia is rattled after what happens to Vivika James. She’s not responsible but she was there, however unrecognizable. Olivia has to learn what happened and how Vivika became a target.

What if you get what you want but you lose everything you had?

Olivia isn’t the same when the desert sand settles. How could she be?

Desert photo by Andreas Selter on Unsplash